Can you eat salt without iodine?

In this brief article, we will answer the question,”Can you eat salt without iodine?” We will discuss some benefits of consuming non-iodised salt and discuss iodine deficiency and its symptoms. We will as well explain some symptoms of iodine deficiency.

Can you eat salt without iodine?

Yes, you can certainly eat salt without iodine. Salt without iodine is also referred to as non-iodized salt and it usually contains sodium and chloride only. 

Non-iodized salt usually comes from underground salt deposits or the sea. It can be processed to create a more refined and finer texture and some ingredients added depending on the manufacture.

Iodized salt on the other hand refers to salt which has iodine added onto it. Iodine is a trace mineral which our bodies are unable to produce and it’s usually gotten from diets such as eggs, vegetables and seafood such as oysters, snapper, tinned salmon and seaweed. 

The fact that iodine is essential to the body, it necessitates most manufacturers to add it to table salt in order to prevent iodine deficiencies.

What are the benefits of non-iodized salt?

Non-iodized salt comes handy in occasions where you require to add some good texture and finishing touches to compliment your dishes. It assists in providing that special taste, texture, grain size, or color you may require in your dishes. 

Some examples of non-iodized salts include pickling salt, kosher salt and pink Himalayan salt and this can be conveniently used to add those final touches you require in your steak or salad.

It is also good to note that if you consume a well balanced diet chances are that you are meeting your iodine requirements and you can do just fine consuming non-iodized salt since it is required in small quantities otherwise you are at risk of having an iodine deficiency.

What is Iodine deficiency?

Iodine deficiency occurs when you have low levels of iodine. Adults require about 140 micrograms (μg) of iodine a day as the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI). 

For pregnant women or women that are breastfeeding the requirements are much higher. Iodine is required for brain development and most importantly it helps in ensuring proper thyroid functioning.

Some groups of people are at risk of having iodine deficiency and these include:

  • Women that are pregnant
  • People that reside in regions and  countries that have poor levels of iodine in the soil such countries include; South Asia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and European countries.
  • People who don’t use iodized salt.
  • Vegetarians or people who follow a vegan diet

What are the symptoms of Iodine deficiency?

Swelling in the neck

People who have low levels of iodine might experience swelling in the front of the neck which is caused by the thyroid gland growing big, a condition known as goiter. The thyroid is a small gland that produces thyroid hormones when it receives signals from thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). 

The thyroid gland makes hormones from the iodine when the TSH levels rise, if you do not have sufficient levels of iodine it cannot perform this task. This forces it to work much harder and cells multiply and grow resulting in goiter.

Fatigue and weakness

Thyroid hormones are usually utilized by the body to produce energy. If their levels are low it means that the body cannot make as much energy as it requires to and the result is that your energy levels dip and you feel weak and clumsy.

Can result in Hair loss

Thyroid hormones also help in the growth of hair follicles. This means that if your thyroid hormones are low the result is that your hair follicles can stop regenerating. If this happens over long periods of time you can have permanent hair loss.

You may feel colder than usual

Thyroid hormones help control the speeds of metabolism, if you have low thyroid hormones the speed of metabolism will be low. A lower metabolism therefore means that you generate less heat and you will feel colder than usual.

May result in changes in your heart beats

Heart beats refer to the amount of times your heart beats in a minute (60 secs). This can be affected by your iodine levels among other factors. If you have low iodine levels this can result in your heart beating slower than usual and if your levels are high your heart may beat faster than usual. 

If you have severe iodine deficiency, this can result in abnormal heart rate and can lead to you feeling weak, dizzy, fatigue and can possibly result in fainting.

Other FAQs about Salt that you may be interested in.

Does drinking salt water make you throw up?

Does putting salt on a canker sore help?

Does salt absorb moisture?


In this brief article, we have answered the question,”Can you eat salt without iodine?” We have discussed some benefits of consuming non-iodised salt and what iodine deficiency is. We have as well explained some symptoms of iodine deficiency.